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Monday, May 3, 2021

My DIY Compost Bin

I have had recycling kitchen scraps on my mind for a very long time and a week ago I ordered a countertop bin and I love it. I have tried other methods with an old copper cannister and coffee cans but they were harder to use when chopping veggies and wanting to dispose of the waste and stuff got slimy and stinky before it was time to empty. This little item I bought lives on top of my double bin step-on garbage on top of the side I seldom use. I can open it even if my hands are full and the lid opens and closes with a one-finger touch. There was no odor after 5 days of refuse I dumped in my compost bin yesterday. It is the perfect size for me and I hunted down every single kitchen scrap that passed me by. I filled it almost to the brim in 5 days while I scoured the internet for the perfect DIY to make from a plastic storage bin. I already have two large old bins that were empty and waiting and more filled with junk in the loft over my garage. The one I used is old enough to be marked Made in USA rather than China. I would have looked for a black one if I were purchasing new but this is a win win way to recycle the bin I already owned.

I drilled holes on all sides and on the bottom for air flow and drainage.

I searched so many DIY sites and decided on this size holes because I felt some of the other sites used holes much too large. I have brick-sized blocks on the bottom to keep slime from forming. As I mentioned before, there are random holes drilled all over the bottom too. I put a metal tray with sides to catch the overflow after a rain. I bought it years ago from a lady who used it for pizza but it was too big for my oven or under my sink. I am finding uses for all my junk this year. I put my bin outside my basement door in the shade. If I had put it in a sunny location, it would have dried out too quickly.

I followed this funny lady's suggestions except for the size of the holes. Her little dog made me laugh. There were many, many other DIY sites that used holes the size of mine. I have a plug-in drill and it worked perfectly. The tub was much harder to drill than I expected and I was glad I had the power of an electric drill. I honestly didn't even know I had it until I discovered it last week in my garage while I was organizing there.

Here is my original Google Search for DIY Compost Bins. The first one that caught my eye had big holes drilled in the lid and bottom only. I opted for the holes all over approach. I can't wait to open it to see what is happening inside but will wait until my little kitchen bin is full before I do. Then I will stir things up before adding my second batch of stuff that is appropriate. Here is a pictorial link for the things I can  and cannot use. I was surprised to see dryer lint and hair or fur are allowed. Now I can clean out my hairbrushes too and leave some of my DNA in my finished compost. 

Little bin atop my step-in garbage. It comes in white too which I would get white if I wanted it to live on my kitchen counter. The gray one is perfect here and within easy reach when I want it on the counter.

My first layer in my newly-drilled bin was dried leaves. My second layer was dirt. My third layer was my first load of kitchen scraps that I covered with fresh grass. I am new at this and will keep you posted. xo


Pam said...

I've been reading about composting and thinking about doing a better job of it. Well-made compost is such an asset to any type of garden. I look forward to following you on this journey, Rosemary.

Content in a Cottage said...

Pam -- I am especially excited about saving and recycling my kitchen scraps. It doesn't take much to make me happy, does it?😂 I will continue to share my journey down the composting road,
xo, Rosemary

mia said...

I've been thinking about this for a long time. But, it does take planning and hardware to get it right. It's that last mile that has prevented me from going ahead. I compost yard waste in a set of repurposed recycling buckets. Slow process, but it works. Some effort involved, and thought, as it is a chemistry project. As you say, lots of opinions out there on how to do it properly. I also have a spinning barrel, which was given to me. Oddly, it never really works for me. I'm doing something wrong there. But, occasionally I toss some food scraps in there to enrich the complexity of the compost. Apparently, the squirrels can smell it, and have gnawed at the lid repeatedly. If I bury it in the open-topped bins, they'll dig in and find it. So, I hope your system does not attract the many critters that share our living spaces. Actually, it is illegal in our township to throw food waste onto a compost pile, so I guess I shouldn't do that. I hope your system of letting it decompose first is the key. Keep us posted on your progress!

Content in a Cottage said...

mia -- I have read so much about composting in the past two weeks. If done right, there should be no odor. It should smell like EARTH. I found one site that teaches you how to resolve certain odors if they occur. There has to be the right balance between brown and green. I have a septic system and cannot have a garbage disposal. I am obsessed with my countertop kitchen waste bin and it's already half full since Sunday. I think I chose the perfect system for one person. When my first one is full to the brim, I will start another one while the first one cooks away requiring only to be mixed up on a regular basis. I'll be sure to keep everyone posted with updates as something exciting happens. If I can find that site about odor correction, I will add it to this post.
xo, Rosemary

Content in a Cottage said...

mia -- I am only composting things that grow. No animal products. I can't even compost anything that was cooked in butter or oil. The only animal scrap I compost is egg shells. I cannot even compost leftover salad that has dressing on it.
I think your township does not want people composting ANIMAL PRODUCTS like chicken skin, chicken bones, steak bones, animal fat, the remains of a rotisserie chicksn, leftovers from the Thanksgiving turkey and things like that. Those are the kitchen scraps that would attract critters and should go in the garbage.
xo, Rosemary

Lisa Nelsen-Woods said...

Thank you for the tutorial shout out! I'm glad my DIY recycling bin tutorial is working for you! We used the storage tub recycling bin for many years and it was working so well for us that we eventually upgraded to a larger tumbling compost bin. We used that for many years until we recently upgraded again to a double tumbling compost bin that makes compost tea when it rains on the bin. Our soil is awful and after using the small DIY bin for so long we realized we eat so much produce we could easily fill a bigger bin with sorely needed compost.

Content in a Cottage said...

Lisa Nelsen-Woods -- Thanks for your compost updates. I have had my bin for 2 weeks now and I couldn't be more pleased. There is almost nothing in my kitchen garbage these days and certainly nothing that could cause an odor. I am especially pleased about not having banana peels and cantaloupe rinds in the kitchen but rather in the compost bin. It is absolutely life changing for me. I get compost tea after a rain that collects in the tray underneath. I use a turkey baster to get it out. I have been feeding a big English boxwood with it and it's looking much healthier.
Good luck with your double rotating bins. I will be forever grateful for your DIY instructions and helpful hints.
xo, Rosemary